Strong UK convenience store sales and increasing growth in the US have helped chilled food manufacturer Greencore achieve revenues of £320.5 million for the 13 weeks to December 27th 2013, which is up 7.2 per cent on the previous year.
Like-for-like revenue growth increased by nine per cent - excluding its dessert business, which was sold to the Müller Dairy UK Group in January 2013.
Greencore’s convenience foods division delivered revenues of £305.6 million - up by 6.9 per cent - while like-for-like growth rose by 9.1 per cent.
Results in the UK demonstrated that like-for-like revenue was 7.2 per cent higher compared to 2012. The firm is happy with the results, given the “challenging grocery retail environment” it faced in 2013.
The small store format continued to exhibit strong growth, which aided food-to-go activity, according to the company.
In a statement Greencore said: “Economic conditions in the UK are steadily improving.
“While this improvement has yet to be seen in larger grocery stores, we are seeing more buoyant activity in small stores and in product categories which perform well in these stores, such as food-to-go.”
The company said it had undertaken significant re-launch activity with several of its key customers and it will continue to develop a pipeline of future opportunities for the 2015 financial year.
Input cost inflammation remains unchanged at around three per cent, with pressure on the proteins and dairy sectors.
US revenue was 26.2 per cent higher - in constant currency - than the previous year - reflecting the start of the Starbucks agreement. Greencore has set a target of $500 million (£301 million) for its US sales, which it expects to reach by 2019.
Its Ingredients and property division – which represents less than five per cent of group activity – reported revenue of £14.9 million, which is 13.7 per cent higher than the previous year in reported currency and 8.5 per cent higher on a constant currency basis.
The company claims its financial position remained strong with “good headroom within existing debt facilities”.